What a rollercoaster we have been on with Abra. It has only been one month since her first nose bleed, and two and a half weeks post diagnosis of nose cancer, and the stress is more than we could have ever imagined. It has been a rough road so far, both mentally and physically.
Follow-UP with Main Vet
After the diagnosis of nasal cancer, we were able to get a follow-up visit with her main vet at Banfield Hospital. The discussion focused mainly on how to keep Abra comfortable and when we would know it is time to make the call. Since every dog is different, the vet really couldn’t give us much information on what to expect. The main symptom she said will definitely occur at some point is a “bleed out” rather just blood mixed with mucus. She also said that if the tumor reaches Abra’s brain then she will probably begin having seizures.
We discussed many different drug options and if they would help. The Internal Medicine vet had recommended an NSAID. We had also read that an anti-nausea medication for dogs had been known to help with congestion. Tramadol was another medication discussed for when her pain gets severe. The decision was made to try the NSAID, Cerenia, and to purchase Yunnan Baiyo to help with the bleeding.
So far, Abra’s quality of life (QOL) has still been very good. She doesn’t act like she is pain (we have read dog’s hide pain really well, though), and during the day she is pretty much her happy self. She even still loves running outside and playing fetch with her Kong.
Night time is another story. Abra is currently having difficulty breathing at night due to congestion. Mucus builds up on both sides of the nose with the cancer. We read in a dog nose cancer group online that “…when a dog is at rest mucus builds up but the tumor prohibits them from clearing it. We clear ours naturally or by blowing our noses.” We think the warmth in the house probably does not help. At this point we are trading off sleeping with her in the living room area where it tends to be cooler at night.
Some have asked how long we plan to wait to make “the call.” Our answer is, “We do not know.” Every dog owner has to make that call at some point, and we know each doggy parent can handle seeing only so much of the suffering of their beloved pet. We have not seen Abra give us that look, yet, that she is done and we need to let her go. My husband has been a bit more realistic than me at saying we might have to make the call sooner rather than later so she doesn’t suffer. In our minds we ask ourselves do we really want to wait until that first major bleed? What if it never happens because it all goes down her throat and we don’t see it? Do we really want to see her have a seizure before we say enough is enough?
Right now we don’t know when we’ll make that call. We aren’t ready, yet, that much we know. We will continue to trade off sleeping out in the living room with our sweet girl, letting her out into the cold air at night to help clear it up, and praying for strength to continue until it is time.
Abra’s is still on Levothyroxine .5 mg for hypothyroidism. They put her on Cerenia 60mg and Rimadyl 100mg Caplets for about one week. We chose not to continue them due to cost, and we did not seen any positive impact of the medications on Abra’s condition. We are now trying Benadryl and CBD Oil to manage the congestion and pain. We also tried getting Little Noses Saline Solution in her nose to try and break up the mucus, but she did not like it one bit. Still waiting for the Yunnan Baiyo (YB) to arrive.